The Game of Thrones season 8 premiere begins with a boy running through a snowy forest back to Winterfell. He sees Daenerys’s army arriving and Arya is in the crowd awaiting Jon Snow’s return as well. The boy climbs a tree and sees the thousands of soldiers marching in unison. Jon Snow and Daenerys are riding side-by-side, which is surprising since Jon Snow bent the knee to Daenerys. Arya sees Jon Snow for the first time in years but doesn’t say anything as he rides by. She also spots The Hound riding horseback, along with Gendry. Tyrion and Varys are riding in a carriage, and Tyrion is keeping the mood light with eunuch jokes. The northerners are a little hesitant to trust any and all newcomers. When the dragons fly over Winterfell, Arya and Sansa are in awe.
Bran is in the courtyard when Jon arrives home. Jon immediately goes up to greet Bran. “Look at you! You’re a man!” Jon gushes. “Almost,” Bran says back. Jon Snow introduces Daenerys to Sansa. Sansa looks her up and down. If looks could kill, Daenerys would at least be in critical condition. “Winterfell is yours, your grace,” Sansa says. Bran gets to the point right away. The Night King is coming. At a meeting, Sansa and the rest of the crew take stock of the number of soldiers and supplies they have. Lyanna Mormont makes a surprise appearance. She’s not too happy that Jon Snow left Winterfell like he did. During the meeting, Sansa and Daenerys are giving each other daggers with their eyes. Tyrion finally gets up and says if anyone survives the war that’s coming, they’ll have Jon Snow to thank. “We must fight together now or die,” Tyrion tells the crowd.
Tyrion has a chat with Sansa after the meeting is over. Last time they spoke was at Joffrey’s wedding. She apologizes for bolting like she did. They’ve survived and that’s all that matters. Sansa doesn’t buy that Cersei is sending her army north. Sansa knows Cersei’s game. She’s played it long enough.
At Godswood, Arya and Jon Snow finally speak for the first time in years. This is their first scene together since the season one premiere. He’s surprised that she still has Needle after all this time. He shows her Longclaw. They talk about Sansa. Jon Snow tries to make a joke that Sansa thinks she’s the smartest person on the planet. “She’s the smartest person I’ve ever met,” Arya quips. Jon is shocked that Arya is defending Sansa. “I’m defending our family,” she continues. “So is she.”
Meanwhile, Euron has Yara imprisoned. Euron and Harry Strickland give an update on their armies. Once Strickland leaves, Euron tries to make his move. “If you want a whore, buy one. If you want a queen, earn her,” Cersei tells him. But she can’t resist the temptation. Speaking of temptation, Bronn is having fun with a few whores. Qyburn walks in on them and asks for Bronn. Cersei has a set of demands for him. She wants him to kill both Tyrion and Jaime with a crossbow and is willing to pay a lot of money for it. How poetic that Cersei chooses a crossbow, the same weapon Tyrion killed their father with. After their tryst, Euron asks Cersei how he compares to her past bedmates, including Jaime. She looks a little shocked that Euron would be so bold talking about Cersei and Jaime’s incestuous relationship. Ultimately, Euron doesn’t care about who Cersei has bedded. “I’m going to put a prince your belly,” he tells her as he walks out.
Theon comes aboard Euron’s ship to save Yara. Finally, the hero inside of Theon returns! They try to figure out where to go next. Yara thinks going back to the Iron Islands is the best bet. She can hold the place down until Jon Snow, Daenerys, and the rest retreat south. The Iron Islands will be a place the Night King’s undead army can’t go. Theon will go wherever Yara commands, but she knows he wants to go to Winterfell to fight for the Starks. She allows him to go back to Winterfell. “What is dead may never die,” Yara says. He repeats the same thing back to her.
Without even knowing that Jon Snow and Daenerys are related, Varys, Tyrion, and Davos are worried about Jon and Dany’s relationship. “Nothing lasts,” Varys notes as the trio looks down on Jon and Daenerys. Daenerys is well aware that Sansa doesn’t like her. All Daenerys wants is Sansa’s respect. Daenerys soon learns that Drogon and Rhaegal are barely eating. They don’t like the north. Daenerys hops aboard Drogon and tells Jon Snow to ride Rhaegal. While he has no clue how to ride a dragon, he doesn’t reject the offer. He nearly falls off but gets the hang of it soon enough. They find a quiet place to have a moment. They share a passionate kiss while the dragons watch.
Arya crosses paths with The Hound at Winterfell. Even though Arya left him to die, they bury the hatchet. She also has a nice chat with Gendry and manages to crack a smile. She asks him to make her a new Valyrian steel weapon. Arya’s got plans, people. That kill list still has a few names on it. As Arya catches up with Gendry, Jon Snow goes to see Sansa. They have a tense conversation about Daenerys. Jon Snow doesn’t think titles matter when it comes to the great war ahead. “Without her, we don’t stand a chance,” he tells Sansa, who then asks him, “Did you bend the knee to save the north or because you love her?”
Jorah takes Daenerys to see Sam. She’s forced to tell him that his father and brother are dead. Sam has to walk away. While his father and brother always treated him poorly, they were still family. Sam spots Bran, who has a few choice words for Sam. “It’s time to tell Jon the truth,” Bran says to Sam. Sam believes that Bran should be the one to tell Jon since he’s Jon’s brother. “I’m not his brother,” Bran notes. “He trusts you more than anyone. Now’s the time.” Sam goes down into the crypts and runs into Jon. Sam tells him about how Daenerys killed his father and brother. Jon Snow had no idea, but he still defends her. That’s when Sam drops the biggest bombshell on Jon Snow: “Your mother was Lyanna Stark. Your father, your real father, was Rhaegar Targaryen. You’ve never been a bastard. You’re Aegon Targaryen, true heir to the Iron Throne.”
Jon Snow is completely caught off guard. He can’t believe Ned would lie to him like this. Sam says that Ned promised Lyanna he’d always protect him. “You’re the true king,” Sam continues. Jon Snow still can’t wrap his head around what Sam is saying. “Daenerys is our queen,” he says. Sam claps back, “She shouldn’t be.” Sam presents Jon with a very valid point, “You gave up your crown to save your people. Would she do the same?”
At Last Hearth, the home of House Umber and south of Castle Black, Tormund and the others who survived the Night King’s attack at The Wall look around for survivors. The halls are completely empty, but they do run into Dolorous Edd. When Beric lights up his flaming sword, they discover little Lord Umber impaled onto the wall and surrounded by human limbs that form that infamous White Walker spiral. When the Umber boy comes back as a White Walker, Beric stabs him with his flaming sword. This is the Night King reiterating his message: he’s coming.
The episode ends with Jaime arriving back in Winterfell. When he climbs off his horse, the first person he sees is Bran, the boy he pushed out the window and crippled all those years ago. This isn’t going to be Jaime’s first awkward reunion in the north. Jaime’s also going to have to come face-to-face with Daenerys, the daughter of the Mad King he famously killed, which earned him the name Kingslayer.